Catalytic converters, which diminished pollution, alone cost over $200 per car to manufacture. In addition, China’s oil refineries were designed to produce only gasoline with high levels of lead. Upgrading all its refineries so they could make low-lead gasoline would require an investment China seemed unwilling to make. Some of the car companies were considering submitting plans for an electric car because China had immense coal reserves which it could burn to produce electricity. This would diminish the need for China to rely on oil, which it would have to import.
However, China did not have sufficient coal burning electric plants nor an electrical number of vehicles. Building such an electrical power system also would require a huge investment that the Chinese government did not seem particularly interested in making. Moreover, because coal is a fossil fuel, switching from an oil – based auto to a coal – based electric auto would still result in adding substantial quantities of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Many government officials were also worried by the political implications of having China become a major consumer of oil.
If China were to increase its oil consumption, would have to import all its oil from the same countries that other nations relied on, which would create large political, economic and military risks. Although the United States imported some of its oil from Venezuela and Mexico, most of its imports came from the Middle East – an oil source that China would have to turn to also. Rising demand for Middle East oil would push oil prices sharply upward, which would send major shocks reverberating through the economics of the United States and those of other nations that relied heavily on oil.
State Department officials worried that China would begin to trade weapons for oil with Iran or Iraq, heightening the risks of major litany confrontations in the region. If China were to become a major trading partner with Iran or Iraq, this would also create closer ties between these two major power centers of the non-western world – a possibility that was also laden with risk. Of course, China might also turn to tapping the large reserves of oil that were thought to be lying under Taiwan and other areas neighboring its coast.
One of the Chain’s stores was located in Wilmington, Delaware. The Robert Hall store in Wilmington had a department for men’s and boys clothing and another department for women’s and girl’s clothing. The departments were physically separated and were staffed by different personnel : Only men were allowed to work in the men’s department and only women in the women’s experience had taught the store’s managers that, unless clerks and customers were of the same sex, the frequent physical contact between clerks and customers would embarrass both and would inhibit sales.
The clothing in the men’s department was generally of a higher and more expensive quality than the clothing in the women’s department. Competitive factors accounted for this : There were few other men’s stores in Wilmington so the store could stock expensive men’s clothes and still do a thriving business, whereas women’s clothing had to be lower priced to compete with the many other women’s stores in Wilmington. Because of these differences in merchandise, the store’s profit margins on the men’s clothing was higher than its margins on the women’s clothing.